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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

I    COME    OF    AGE

Charing Cross Road. He said, " What do you do? "
I said that I painted and had exhibited at the
Independants at the Albert Hall. He said, " There
were so many pictures." I said nervously I had a
picture of a " Dead Soul/' holding a yellow tulip.
He said, " Yes, of course, I remember it, you are the
young girl who sat with my statues; my sister and
I called you c La Fillette.' " We walked on. He
gave my friend lessons, and one day came to my
room and said, " I am very poor and I want to do a
torso, will you sit for me? " I said, " I don't know,
perhaps I look awful with nothing on," and he said,
" Don't worry." I went one day to his studio in the
Fulham Road and took off all my clothes. I turned
round slowly and he did drawings of me. When he
had finished he said, " Now it is your turn to work.53
He took off all his clothes, took a large piece of
marble and made me draw, and I had to. I did
three drawings and he said, "Now we will have
some tea." From the drawings he did two torsos.
The other day Harold Nicolson published one of
the drawings in the Evening Standard and said that
the torso was of myself. Henri was very poor and
lived with an elderly woman who, he told me, was
his sister. We used to wander round Putney and
look at stonemasons5 yards, where tombstones were
exhibited, in the hopes of finding odd bits of stone in
reach of the railings. One day we found a nice
piece of marble and that night we arranged to
meet. At 10.30 we went to the yard. I watched
for a policeman and he took the piece of marble and
put it in his pocket.
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